Arup selected to lead Fiorentina stadium revamp

Engineering and design consultancy Arup has been selected to lead the revamp of the Stadio Artemio Franchi, home of Italian Serie A football club Fiorentina.

The Municipality of Florence announced that Arup Italia’s proposal has been selected to reimagine the ageing stadium, with David Hirsch to serve as chief designer.

Arup’s proposal was one of eight shortlisted by the Municipality in October. Those shortlisted had until February 1 to enter their preliminary projects and Arup has now been selected as the winner.

The Municipality launched an international design competition for the project back in June, with 31 applications having been submitted during the initial stage of the competition. As well as the stadium, the competition sought proposals which would create a new sports/cultural space as a key part of the urban regeneration of the Campo di Marte area in Florence.

The Franchi opened in 1931 and has a current capacity of around 43,000. Arup’s proposal features a roof for the Franchi and new grandstands which will bring fans closer to the pitch.

The project will be financed with money from Florence’s Recovery Fund. Under the plans, the capacity of the stadium will be at least 40,000.

Construction is expected to begin in the autumn of 2023 and finish by 2026. The plans also include a museum for exhibition events, a new auditorium, a park, and hospitality and commercial space.

Speaking to Italian newspaper La Nazione, Filippo Minora, a senior architect at Arup Italia, said that it would be possible for Fiorentina to continue playing at the Franchi while the work is carried out, albeit with a limited capacity.

“We made a project with a clear timetable of 30 months of construction,” Minora said. “We are very happy and we can’t wait to get started.”

Florence’s Mayor, Dario Nardella, has previously said that the budget for the entire project is expected to be a maximum of €190m (£158m/$207m), of which work on the stadium is expected to take up €137.5m.

In April last year, the Municipality’s ongoing efforts to transform the Franchi were boosted after the project received a substantial funding package from the Italian government’s national recovery plan.

Italy’s Council of Ministers approved the plan, which in total allocated around €6bn to projects relating to the cultural sector. With an allocation of €95m, the Franchi redevelopment was one of 14 strategic projects labelled great cultural attractions which were assigned €1.46bn in total.

Images: Città di Firenze